While the New York Auto Show features many debuts from well-known, established automakers, it's also great to see the newcomers enter the fray. Take, for instance, the Qiantu K50, which debuted at the New York show.
The Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that will be sold in the US as well. While some companies may roll into auto shows with trillion-horsepower moon shots, the K50 is a relatively tame car with a modest output that should position its price tag in a way that won't scare people away.
We'll start with the looks. It sort of looks like Dr. Moreau attempted to merge a BMW i8 with a fish, at least up front -- the hood is low, long and curvy, and beneath that is a set of thin headlights and a strip of trim that would be a grille if it weren't an electric car. My favorite part of the front end has to be the area below the headlights, which is covered in this wild flourish that hides a set of radiators. Carbon-fiber trim starts from that spot on the bumper and continues unimpeded to an intake on the door. Out back, I see a bit of McLaren in the way the taillights blend with the rear bumper.
While only some of the carbon fiber is shown, there's a lot here. There are 29 carbon-fiber components on the body, weighing only about 103 pounds. The rest of the body is made of sheet metal, while the frame underneath is made of aluminum. A double-wishbone suspension at each corner means it should handle pretty darn well. Brembo brakes and a set of sticky Pirelli P-Zero tires with a unique tread pattern will help everything come to a stop.
The real clever bits are all under that skin. The K50 uses two electric motors, one at each axle, granting the vehicle all-wheel drive. Output is approximately 400 horsepower when putting around town, but there's an "overclocking" mode that briefly boosts output to about 430 hp. The electric motors feature torque vectoring, assuring there's traction at the specific wheel that needs it. Qiantu didn't make any mention of battery capacity or range, but Chinese models get a 78kWh battery, and the range from that unit is estimated at 230 miles by Chinese NEDC standards. There's also a solar-powered HVAC system that engages when the interior temperature exceeds 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
That all sounds pretty cool, but there's still plenty we don't know, like its estimated range in the US, or -- perhaps most importantly -- its price. But the car won't be on sale until 2020, so we still have some time for that information to arrive. When it comes to US manufacturing, that responsibility will be left to Mullen Technologies, based in California.
Originally published April 16 at 4 p.m. ET.
Update April 18: Adds new photos from the show floor.